Are Tree Roots Ruining Your Drains?

tree roots in drains call for repair from Riley Plumbing and Heating.

When it comes to plumbing problems, the last thing you’re probably thinking is tree roots. The reality is tree roots are an actual problem for sewer lines, especially those with older pipes. The problem might not be happening directly inside your house, but leaving tree roots to take over the sewer lines outside your home can have terrible consequences. The worst being non-functioning broken pipes that can cost thousands to replace. Tree root intrusion is a common problem for sewer lines. Because tree roots constantly seek out the best source of moisture, they’re attracted to sewer lines, which provide an endless supply of wastewater. Where there are any joints or gaps between pipes, that’s where the roots will enter, multiplying and expanding until eventually, the pipe collapses.

When Tree Roots Are the Problem

If you’re worried about tree roots invading your plumbing system, you might be wondering how you can see the warning signs when the issue is underground. Luckily you don’t have to dig out your sewer line to find out. Any responsible homeowner wants to monitor their home for potential problems and acts before the problem turns into a disaster. The good news is that a clogged sewer line provides several warning signs.

  • Old piping. Sometimes the easiest way to tell if you have a clogged sewer line or are at risk of a damaged or clogged sewer line is the age of your piping. Check the inspection report given to you when you first purchased the house. Cast iron, clay, and PVC/ABS plastic pipes are all highly susceptible to corrode, rust, and crack.
  • Gurgling toilets. Your toilet shouldn’t gurgle, but it happens when air escapes up back through the toilet, indicating a blockage somewhere. If you start to notice your toilet sounds a lot like your coffeemaker, it most likely means something is wrong with the sewer line.
  • Slow draining sinks and toilets. If you notice the water is draining at an agonizingly slow pace, it means there’s a blockage forming somewhere, and if left untreated, you could end up with backed up sewage.
  • Foul sewer odor. Something stinks and you know it’s not the garbage. Clean and functioning sewer lines should be air tight, meaning you should never smell nasty sewer gases. If you smell septic, it means there’s a crack somewhere in the sewer line.
  • If there is a cracked sewer line somewhere behind your walls, that gives mold the chance to grow. If you catch mold spots followed by the nasty smell of sewage, it means there’s a break somewhere in your sewer line.

What You Can Do

The good news is that you don’t have to cut down the tree, but it is best to contact a professional when handling tree root incursion. A plumber has the right tools and knows exactly what to look for. They’ll usually start with a camera inspection, where they insert a rod with a high-resolution camera attached and capture footage of what’s inside the sewer line. After identifying the problem, the plumber can then determine the best solution to your damaged sewer line.

  • Hydro-jetting. If the plumber finds tree roots lodged inside the sewer line, then one of the most effective ways to remove them is through hydro-jetting. Using a hose that continuously blasts high pressurized water, hydro-jetting will not only remove those stubborn tree roots, it will thoroughly clean out any other buildups inside your pipes.
  • Pipe-lining. Another much longer term solution is to line your pipes. By creating a new seamless plastic pipe inside the old pipe, it can either entirely replace the pipe or cover the damaged spots. Because the new pipe is made with a seamless, high-grade epoxy, there are no weak joints for tree roots to dig into.
  • Pipe bursting. Using hydraulics, pipe bursting is a method that pulls out and breaks the old piping, while seamlessly replacing it with new piping. This would be one of your best solutions if the sewer line is beyond repair and in desperate need of replacing.
  • Diligent maintenance. Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to prevent from happening. Repairing your plumbing is expensive, and the best way to avoid that is with routine inspections and drain cleaning services.

Don’t Let Your Landscaping Take Over

Older homes can be notorious for being outdated and in need of some serious uptake. Renovating or selling a home also demands a lot of updates and maintenance.  Regardless, homeowners should never have to struggle with their plumbing.

Don’t wait until your trekking through sewage. If you’re concerned about your plumbing, contact Riley Plumbing and Heating today!